Budget 2018: Arun Jaitley reiterates that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender; positive about blockchain technology

In an effort to curb the proliferation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February said that the government will eliminate the use of virtual currencies for illegitimate financing.

Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

"Cryptocurrencies are not (a) legal tender and the government discourages its use. However, the government will look at the utilisation of Blockchain (a distributed digital technology that supports cryptocurrencies)," Jaitley said in his Budget speech in Parliament.

Jaitley has repeatedly said that such digital currencies were not legal tender and people dealing with them would not get any legal protection.

Meanwhile, in response to Jaitley's observations in cryptocurrencies, virtual currency wallets like Unocoin and Zebpay tweeted their responses. Unocoin tweeted, "Based on the #UnionBudget2018 announcement, there is no change in government's stance with respect to #cryptocurrency. It is business-as-usual at @Unocoin #Budget2018"

Zebpay, another virtual currency wallet tweeted, "Wrong interpretation by media: Bitcoin is illegal. Correct interpretation: Bitcoin cannot be used as legal tender. Bitcoin cannot be used for illegitimate activities. Nothing New. Media FUD. Business as usual."

While the government may not have said that cryptocurrency is banned, Jaitley did seem supportive of blockchain technology and it's possible commercial applications.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Feb 01, 2018 15:45 PM